What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Daily Dose: 2/1/17

It’s officially Black History Month

3:00 PMIt’s February, the time of year when black folks get a modicum of respect from the federal government and we teach schoolkids about George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. Lord knows we wish it was more than that, though.

Every single day of this administration has been more hectic than the last. It’s almost as if the chaos is designed, so that no one can really keep up with what’s going on and we are forced to just grab onto one thing that sort of makes sense and try to go with it. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump nominated a guy named Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and the event was a mighty white affair. How’d the president select this guy? Let’s take a look inside the process.

I love the Westminster Dog Show. It’s a great display of animal form, It’s absurdly formal and the things people wear to said event are fantastic. It’s genuinely a great piece of entertainment on every level. So when news broke that they’ll be having cats, CATS, as part of the production this year, that caught a lot of people off guard, including your boy. It’s a dog show. Why on earth would you ruin that with cats? We have no idea what they were thinking.

It’s been a hard fall for Derek Fisher. A guy long considered as the class of the league, after he got involved with a former teammate’s ex-wife, then caught a beatdown from him in dude’s own house. He ended up missing a scrimmage as a result and it was just a terrible look all around. Now, things are getting worse. Someone broke into his place and stole his five NBA championship rings. I completely forgot he even had that many, to be honest.

The goal in the Olympics is to win a gold medal. They’re valuable in a strange way, in that they have value, but not necessarily a specific monetary one. Some athletes fall on hard times and end up having to sell them, which is always extremely sad. In 2020, however, the specific material of said medals will be changing. Now, they’ll be made from recycled metal, which is cool.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Ever since Nas moved into quasi-retirement, he’s been doing all sorts of things. Documentary work, rapping with symphonies and just in general being a great ambassador for hip-hop. Now, BET is making a series about his life. Very dope.

Snack Time: I love brunch as much as the next person, but it can get messy as heck depending on where you are. BrunchCon in New York City is a flat-out bad idea.

Dessert: Looking for something extremely kitschy for the vinyl lover in your life? Boom.

Oprah to join ’60 Minutes’

Sunday nights could get good again

12:30 PMOprah, we missed you.

We know you’ve been doing all sorts of tremendous mogul stuff over the past half decade or so, but welcome back to our television screens, doing what originally made us fall in love with you: talking to people. On Tuesday, CBS announced that the onetime talk show host will be joining the legendary news outlet 60 Minutes as a special contributor.

“I am thrilled that she will be bringing her unique and powerful voice to our broadcast,” executive producer Jeff Fager said in a statement.

This is not to say that what she’s been doing recently is somehow problematic or unappreciated. Oprah Winfrey’s been giving so much of herself to other people and using her considerable influence to create opportunities for friends and others, which is great. All of those products always felt like derivatives of Winfrey, who these days is remembered in GIFs and memes, but not for how she made us feel. For all the magazines, Dr. Phils, Gayles, Rachael Rays, movies and OWN programs she’s birthed and nurtured to fruition, OG Oprah is still the best.

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Of course, 60 Minutes isn’t about to turn into The Oprah Winfrey Show 2.0, which is not the idea. But original ideas from her, featuring her, have been sorely lacking in some eyes. For all of the black women in this country who have commanded respect nationally, Winfrey was different. People have been stealing their whole swag from black women since the beginning of America, yet Winfrey was one of the first in the cable TV era to actually command wide-ranging respect. Before it was cool to love Beyoncé or Michelle Obama, Winfrey had people glued to their couches every afternoon.

Which reminds me of my favorite commercial of hers from back in the day.

Suddenly the sound of that ticking clock isn’t so ominous anymore.

Daily Dose: 1/31/17

LeBron James is not here for Charles Barkley’s foolishness

10:45 AMDon’t look now, but my Washington Wizards are actually looking like a respectable franchise. It is January, though.

Sally Yates is obviously a woman of principle. Instead of bending to President Donald Trump’s immigration order, she basically told everyone that she didn’t know if it was lawful and didn’t feel the need to enforce it. To be clear, this is exactly what an attorney general is supposed to do, as the person operates as part of the checks and balances system. So, Trump fired her, with a bizarre tweetstorm of an official statement at that. There’s some particular irony in this case, because when she was being confirmed, guess who asked her if she had any backbone?

If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles, you probably avoided Skid Row. The last time I was there, I went to a party that took my cab driver through said section of town and he nervously asked me the whole time if I was headed to the right place because he didn’t want to stop the car. It’s the city’s homeless district and its reputation, though earned, doesn’t mean that those who live there aren’t actual people. Last week, the third annual Carnival of Love was held there. While it was a day of attempted joy, the larger question of how this tackles the long-term problem is one worth reading about.

Here’s the thing about the SAG Awards: They do influence how people feel about the Oscars. Not because it necessarily changes votes, but it gives you an idea as to where people are regarding what they think is a worthy winner. So, after the Golden Globes, the SAGs, we get a much better idea of where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is likely going with its picks. Check out how last weekend’s victors might have altered what we see on Oscar night in a couple of weeks.

LeBron James came for Charles Barkley’s whole life. Barkley has been harping on James for some time, calling him all sorts of names over the years and, beyond that, continuously tried to tear down his reputation and legacy for whatever reason. On Monday night, The King wasn’t having it and destroyed the Chuck Wagon, calling him a hater and summarily pointing out all the foolishness that Barkley has embarked on over the years. Look, I love Barkley, but he’s long been out of pocket on this one. He deserves every bit of this.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Speaking of coming for people’s lives, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank had no regard for New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft during a live television interview Monday at the Super Bowl. My man cold put him on blast regarding Trump and had no qualms about it.

Snack Time: If you like records, as in the vinyl industry specifically, and you like Jamaica, this is a documentary for you. A short film about the record industry in the island nation and its forgotten roots.

Dessert: Rest in peace, Chuck Stewart.

Our president is no longer black, but Mr. Clean is

New Super Bowl ad campaign gives cleaning product a new public face

9:30 AMAs far as iconic American brands go, few are more recognizable than Mr. Clean. For nearly 60 years, the image of a bald white guy rocking an earring and all-white garb represented the P&G cleaning product brand. Now, that person is a black man. His name is Mike Jackson, and fittingly, he’s from Atlanta. He beat a whole lot of other people to become the brand representative for the next year, according to Yahoo Beauty.

His story is great and seeing a black face in such a traditionally white space is refreshing, even if it’s a temporary promotional tour. It’s not like the brand is changing its Twitter avi or anything. But perhaps most revealing about this whole situation is the number of people who were already looking and apparently acting like the Old Mr. Clean.

The effort surrounds the new Super Bowl commercial to unveil Jackson as the new face. To be clear, Jackson isn’t actually in the commercial. Instead, they just use a CGI white guy who happens to have great rhythm and smooth dance moves to seduce a wife while scrubbing down the kitchen. Seems like you could have found a real person to do that for less, but what do I know.


Anyway, take some time and look up “The Next Mr. Clean” on YouTube. The results are flat-out hilarious. There are guys using funny voices and making dramatic readings. Others are taking the whole “white eyebrows” thing to its most literal extension, which strikes us as a terrible move, socially. Some are singing the theme song, which I didn’t even realize had actual lyrics to it.

Either way, good for Jackson and thanks for the reminder that I need to clean my bathroom.


Taylor Bennett releases short film

It’s called ‘Broad Shoulders’ and hits its notes perfectly

5:00 PMWhen Taylor Bennett’s Broad Shoulders dropped last December, it was a head-first dive into a full-length LP from a teenager who was probably best known for being Chance The Rapper’s kid brother. With sample-free production from Ludlow and many others, it established Bennett as more than just a younger facsimile of his more famous musical family member. Now, the two have a movie by the same name.

As a short film with no actual dialogue, it feels more like an EP of music videos, which is not a bad thing. The tale follows a day or so in the life of two lovers trying to figure out just how much they care about each other. It’s a story that’s as lovely visually as it is musically. Directed by Heston Charres, we get a glimpse into what a summer night in Chicago looks like these days for Taylor.

With roles as “girl” and “the next girl,” Maggie Thompson and Corinne Natyshak, respectively, come off the screen as far more than just side props to flesh out Bennett’s love interests. You might have seen Natyshak’s work in various other places around the showbiz scene.

Ultimately, it feels like a perfect project for Bennett at this point of his career. Here’s the album.

All Day

Marshawn Lynch rocks Scotland with Skittles

Beast Mode makes friends ahead of the Super Bowl

4:45 PMMarshawn Lynch is a national treasure. This is a known fact. When he goes overseas, he becomes an international treasure. Take for example when he turned up on a random guy’s Twitter feed popping wheelies across the pond, nearly getting hit by a bus after finishing his trick. It was a perfect moment of bicycle diplomacy to remind the globe of the importance of transportation safety. It also served as great reminder that, in some places, they drive on the other side of the road. Obviously a preplanned win-win that only #BeastMode could orchestrate.

But his latest dabbling in international relations is his best. We now know why he was in Scotland riding without a helmet (stars, they’re just like us!): He was working. His love for Skittles is well-known, and now that he’s a brand ambassador for the candy outfit, he’s sharing the rainbow everywhere he can. Naturally, because it’s Super Bowl week, he took his talents to Houston, Scotland.

Someone give this man a travel show. I’d watch it anytime. Including ridiculous o’clock.

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Daily Dose: 1/30/17

Black actors shine at SAG Awards

1:00 PMI was out sick this week for The Morning Roast, but Dom and Mina obviously did great. Earlier in the week, I did an interview with NPR about Serena Williams. Listen here.

Americans stood up over the weekend against Donald Trump, again. This time it was to demonstrate against the president’s latest executive order focused on immigrants from certain nations, while ostensibly claiming to want to ban terrorists. It is clearly an unduly limitation on all sorts of people, mainly Muslims. At airports across the United States, the message was clear: This is unacceptable.

Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards produced some beautiful results. Mahershala Ali, who was nominated for Moonlight, won the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role, and his speech was tremendous. Both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis won for their performances in Fences, and Hidden Figures won a cast award. Quite a few acceptance speeches were aimed at the man in the White House.

Kim Kardashian won’t be getting her jewelry back. At least, most of it, that is. Back when she was the victim of a scary situation in which she was tied and gagged, while gunmen underwent a massive heist of her bling during Fashion Week in Paris, it seemed like just getting away with her life was a blessing. Now, one of the masterminds of said operation has details on just what happened to all of that stuff and precisely how easy it was to steal it.

If you weren’t familiar, Steve Kerr’s dad was assassinated by a terrorist. So, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors is well familiar with how global politics affect home life as an American. On Sunday night, after his team’s win against the Portland Trail Blazers, Kerr was asked about Trump’s immigration ban. He’s been very outspoken regarding the White House’s policies and his answer this time was just what you might expect.

Free Food

Coffee Break: It wasn’t all gravy in Hollywood this week. At an event that was designed to celebrate women in film, Salma Hayek was all the way out of pocket when she came for Jessica Williams, who handled the situation with more grace than she ever needed to. Hayek was foul.

Snack Time: Kirk Franklin might be a man of the Lord, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t catch a slug if you run up in his crib talking crazy. All, of course, in the name of Jesus, that is.

Dessert: Here’s your first look at Ocean’s 8, which, for my money, is starring Rihanna.

Daily Dose: 1/27/17

The Winter X Games are underway

6:49 PMAlright kiddos, it’s been a wild week, but it’s finally Friday afternoon. I feel like my brain is about to completely melt just trying to keep up with the White House.

This situation with Mexico is very awkward. Our neighbors to the south are basically in a weird war of words with the president and there’s no real solution to the matter. First their president was supposed to come here to meet. Then, he backed out. Trump acted like it was a mutual decision, but we all know the truth. This wall argument is the dumbest thing ever, but at least the two managed to talk: albeit by phone.

The Winter X Games are the best. I far prefer them to the summer variety, simply because snowboarding is just incredible. Throw in snowmobiling, nevermind skiing and it’s basically full carnage down the mountain at all times. It’s really remarkable to watch sometimes and the points of danger are very real. Which is why course design is such an important part of the process. Check out this deep dive in to how it’s done.

Brawls in basketball tend to be rather insane. The long arms, the big bodies, it’s a totally different situation from other sports where there’s all sorts of padding and equipment and space to keep things from boiling over. But last night in the Lousiana Tech/UAB game things got NUTS. The police had to get involved and LA Tech was left with just four players at the end of the game. What a mess.

The Super Bowl just got an interesting new act. Not the halftime, though. The cast of Hamilton is going to sing America The Beautiful before the game, which is about the best case scenario for that song being involved at all, which is never needs to be. Of course with the state of this nation, it’s likely to be a rather rousing rendition since emotions will be running super high in Houston that week.

Free Food

Coffee Break: I love the Rookie Game during NBA All-Star Weekend. Ever since Jason Williams did that around the back bump pass thing, it’s been the best event on the slate for a long while. And this year’s roster is absolutely stacked. This is a must watch.

Snack Time: If you don’t know the difference between weaves, extensions and wigs, Zendaya is here to bless you with the knowledge.

Dessert: Good for you, Roxane Gay. Good for you.